Hiroshima Peace Park

*Sigh*. I really tried blogging regularly. But obviously it’s still not something that I can make a part of my routine. I had a feeling I would lapse, of course. And I even had a feeling it would happen when it did – over Christmas. The past 3 months have indeed been busy with travels and visitors. And so as travelling and visitors have been the cause of my non-blogging, I decided to make it the cause of my blogging resumption. (Cover Photo: The A-Bomb Dome just outside the Hiroshima Peace Park. This building was just a few feet away from ground zero of the Atomic Bomb that detonated above Hiroshima on 6 August 1945).

A couple of weeks ago,  Dave Martunen and Steve Jones from The Fellowship visited me here in Osaka. It was a great busy as I had the chance to get to know them. I’ve had “dealings” with both in the past, of course, especially because of the Alberta Wildfire and the Fellowship’s assistance at NorthLife, but having some solid time to just chat and get to know each other has been great. (Picture: Steve, Dave and I at Dotonbori)

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Even better was the context of our visit. Of course they came here to Osaka to visit me and see my work. But we also had the opportunity to visit Hiroshima, a city which I have always wanted to go to (I was considering bringing my parents, who visited me just a couple of weeks before Steve & Dave, but it was too far).

Not only am I a history buff, but I particularly like reading about World War 2 – even more particularly, the Pacific War. So being in Hiroshima, a very important place in that history was great. It reminded me of why I loved love to travel – being able to really connect with and experience the history that I only have only read about. It reminded me of my visit to Las Vegas where I went to the gun range and shot World War 2 era rifles (Picture: Me holding the M1 Garand).

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As I said, I had read quite a bit about the Pacific War. And the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki). I had even read some fiction about it. I remember doing my final project for Grade 12 English on the book “The Ash Garden” by Dennis Bock, which which follows “Emiko”, whose whole family dies in the bombing, but herself survives (though disfigured) and goes to the US get reconstructive surgery. Another character it follows is Anton, a German scientist who had been involved in the Manhattan Project. Spoiler alert: The big reveal is that Anton had met Emiko in the aftermath of the bombing and was so horrified by what his work had done that he wanted to make sure Emiko was given the chance for reconstructive surgery. He doesn’t reveal this to her until like 50 years later though.

Anyway, I remember being really moved by that story, but nothing really can prepare you for what you see in Hiroshima. At the museum (unfortunately most of it was under renovation, set to reopen next year… which means I’ve already decided I’m going to visit again when it reopens) there’s tons of artifacts and pictures of the devastation. They really don’t hold back, showing some really graphic images. One particular story is of a girl named Sadako. She survived the bomb relatively unscathed, and grew up quite normal and healthy. Unfortunately, the after effect of the radiation caught up with her almost 10 years after the bomb, and she contracted lukemia.

Sadako started folding 1,000 paper cranes which she hoped would give her the luck to get better. Unfortunately, she died, unable to finish the cranes. So her classmates completed her project for her, and apparently since then, schools visitors have been donating paper cranes they folded (especially Japanese school children). The cranes are eventually recycled but not before being displayed near a statue of Sadako (picture below). I thought the pose she held was pretty interesting, with a figure of a crane behind her.

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We didn’t have a lot of time in Hiroshima. As I said it was mostly a trip about getting to know each other and (at least for me) resting. I’m really looking forward to going back sometime soon.

Well that’s all for now. I’m gonna try to be a little more regular with these blogs, especially since I’ve started a major project that I want to chronicle: Trying to read 50 books in 2018. I’m doing quite well actually. I’m on to my 13th book now, which is 1 ahead of the 4 per month that I need to do. I’m hoping to finish March strong with 15 books completed. Also, I’m really ramping up my Japanese studying as I have to decide soon if I am going to attempt my JLPT N5 in July (I have about a month to decide).

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